Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children manifest themselves in behavioural issues such as lack of concentration, hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsiveness. The difficulty arises in trying to identify what are symptoms of ADHD and what is the typical behaviour of a young child or infant. How can you really tell if your child has ADHD?
Any symptoms of ADHD would normally be noticeable within the first seven years of a child's life. The main ADHD symptoms include:
A tendency to be aggressive.
Constant fidgeting and being unable to sit still.
Excessive talking, impatience and constant interrupting – usually spoken in a loud voice.
Unable to stay seated, stand in a line or wait their turn.
Issues with delaying responses.
Unable to play quietly – usually running, climbing and charging around.
Upon first glance, the list aboveis likely to appear to be a bit confusing. Afterall, what child does not do at least one of these things on a daily basis.
Unfortunately there are no set rules , meaning ADHD is not usually diagnosed quickly or easily. If your child demonstrates ADHD symptoms occasionally and in specific situations, then it is likely you have nothing to worry about. However if your child shows these symptoms on a regular basis, no matter what the situation or environment, then further investigation may be required.
A COMMON MYTH OF ADHD
Probably as a consequence of the name, if asked to describe a child with ADHD, most people would give a description of a manic child, charging around the place smashing anything and everything. Whilst this isn't uncommon it is only one manifestation as children's behaviour can vary greatly. For some children the condition can actually make them very quiet and withdrawn.
The three primary indicators of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, meaning the outward behaviour of the child of the child is dictated by the most prominent indicators. For example, you may have one child who is inattentive but neither hyperactive nor impulsive, whilst another could be all three (most common).
The unfortunate thing for any children who do not display hyperactive or impulsive tendencies is that they often get missed. The fact that they are not constantly 'acting up' means they get over-looked, though their need for attention is no less. Children such as these who struggle to pay attention will pay the consequence both academically and socially if they are not diagnosed soon enough.
It is often difficult to differentiate symptoms of ADHD with normal child mis-behaviour. Diagnosis does not often happen quickly and usually requires observation over time, to assess the circumstances and environment of any concerning behaviour.
Remember that children with ADHD are not necessarily hyperactive or 'wild', the condition can also be present in quieter children. If you start having concerns then keep a journal. Not only will this give you a good idea of whether or not you have something to worry about, it will also be useful for future consultation with a professional.
If you are concerned that your child may have ADHD then the first person you should speak to is their teacher. As all three of the primary indicators impact on learning, teachers are usually the first to notice if anything is untoward.